Jessica Lang and Backhausdance

I LOOOVED Jessica Lang and Backhausdance at the Joyce Theater‘s American Dance Platform. My favorite program of this year’s festival.

“Lyric Pieces” by Jessica Lang was graceful and beautiful. Jessica has incredible way of bringing dancers together, so that as a whole they tell a touching and emotional story. The minimalist but versatile props accentuated the constantly evolving, dynamic movements. “The Calling,” a short solo, was visually stunning from the moment the curtain was lifted. Kana Kimura stood at the center of stage, in an all-white dress that spanned 20 feet across covering much of the stage. As she moved, the fabric of the dress flowed, twirled, and responded to her.

If seeing Jessica Lang’s work feels like attending an elegant wedding, then seeing Jennifer Backhaus‘s work feels like the small victories of making it through a difficult but rewarding week.

“The Elasticity of the Almost” was creative, playful, and deeply emotional.

I was warned ahead of the show that “balls will be rolling into the audience!” Surely and truly, thousands of bouncing balls filled the stage. They were carried on stage by the dancers, rolled in one by one from the sides, poured in by the buckets, before raining down from the sky.

While the balls were the most visible part of the piece (they’re in bright red and other solid colors), my favorite was how the dancers interacted with the balls. The dancers’ movements were organic, dynamic, and gorgeous if not challenging. (Imagine turning and jumping in an ocean of rolling balls!) Yet, they also revealed deep emotions: the stress and rewards of being an artist, making it through the week, hanging onto what we care, letting go of what must go, discovering, and understanding what is truly valuable to us. Such a beautiful, meaningful, and impactful work of art. 😍

Look forward to seeing much more from these two amazing choreographers and companies!

ABT Fall Gala

The American Ballet Theatre fall season opened tonight with the Fall Gala performance.

My favorite goes to Christopher Wheeldon’s Thirteen Diversions. Love the pairing of Skylar Brandt (full of energy, happiness, and power) and Sarah Lane (gentle and graceful). Other memorable moments include Stella Abrera and Thomas Forster‘s duet (beautiful with a dramatic opening when they, dressed in white, stood against a sea of dancers in black) and Misty Copeland and Gray Davis’ second duet.

The world premiere of “The Gift” is stunning too. Happy. Dynamic. Uplifting. Choreographed by Jessica Lang and performed by 40+ dancers dressed in all white from the ABT Apprentices, ABT Studio Company, and the Upper 2 and 1 students at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. I love Jessica’s use of (so many) dancers on stage. There’s both structure and spontaneity. Everything just flows, with beautiful transitions, dramatic build-ups, and the gorgeous lines. Love the wonderful energy and the passion from these young dancers. Bravos to a lovely performance!